A young Dunstable football team have been rewarded for not giving up despite facing superior opponents week-in, week-out after being placed in the wrong league.
Dunstable Town Youth Under-11 Whites won the Under-11 Sporting Trophy Award and the Fair Play Plaque out of 40 teams in the league.
But the team spent the 2012-2013 season in the Third Division of the Chiltern Youth League, despite manager Bob Keating’s reservations.
It was Bob’s first season in charge of the team.
He told the Gazette: “We were wrongly put in that league. We thought we would lose every game before we kicked a ball.”
The mixed-gender team lost every match – conceding 175 goals – until the final day of the season when they beat Oakley Rangers 3-1 at home.
Bob added: “They deserved that so much. The players continued to play their football through heavy defeats and eventually they were rewarded for their hard work and commitment.
“Their heads never went down for one minute.”
The competition has since been restructured, with the Third Division split into two leagues.
The Whites will play in the second tier of Division Three next season.
Bob said: “They didn’t blame each other for mistakes, they never whinged or moaned, they kept their heads up. I’ll always remember that Saturday.
“I’m so proud of all of them. I’d like to thank all the players and all the parents for their support.
“It is a lesson in not giving up no matter what.
“The team spirit these kids have shown is an inspiration.
“It’s put them in good stead for life.”
The fair play awards are presented by the league after taking into consideration comments and votes made by opposing team coaches after each match.